Call for drink drive limit to be lowered in Scotland

The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland are calling for the Scottish Executive to consider lowering the current drink drive limit in a bid to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on Scotland's roads.

The ACPOS is expected to present a paper to First Minister Alex Salmond within the next few weeks.

Chief Constable of Tayside Police and chair of the ACPOS Road Policing Business Area, John Vine, said: "The current legal limit on drivers' blood alcohol content was set at 80mg some 40 years ago and there are now only two other member states of the European Union with limits higher than 50mg, one of them being the UK.

"Deaths from drink driving in Great Britain stopped falling 10 years ago and sadly show signs of rising.

"Research carried out in 2005 by Professor Richard Allsop of the Centre for Transport Studies at University College London indicated that lowering the drink drive limit could save around 65 lives a year and lead to about 230 fewer injuries a year.

"In monetary terms, a change in the allowed limit would save society somewhere in the region of £119 million a year.

"This research was based on lowering the limit from the present 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg.

"The Netherlands, which has had a 50mg limit for 30 years, has a far better road safety record for drinking and driving. The beneficial effect on road fatalities of reducing the legal limit is evidenced from Australia, USA and Sweden. We wait to see the same results here in Scotland.

"Lowering the limit is not something that should be done in isolation. It has to be part of a substantial initiative to resume and sustain a clear downward trend in death and injury resulting from the avoidable excess risk of drinking after driving.

"If the government seriously wants to target the 'hard core' of drink drivers and to reduce fatalities, lowering the legal limit is vital."


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